Cotter group

Professor Thomas Cotter

Professor Thomas Cotter

About the Cotter Research Group

The Cotter tumour biology research group

The main research focus in the Cotter Laboratory is in understanding the role of cell signaling pathways, in particular those that are redox regulated and active, in tumour cell survival and in degenerative conditions of the retina.  The role of reactive oxygen species such as hydrogen peroxide has undergone a renaissance in the last decade with this molecule shown to be acting as both a driver of cell death (at high concentrations) but also more significantly as a specific activator of cell survival pathways at lower concentrations. 
In the case of several tumours both leukaemia and colon we see an increase in ROS production on oncogene activation.  From multiphoton microscopy this increase appears to be localised to the ER and is produced by activation of one member of the NADPH Oxidase (Nox) family of enzymes.  This in turn activates the Akt/PI3k pathway by the inhibition of one of several negatively regulating phosphatases.  The result is a stronger tumour cell survival signal which aids tumour development and hinder chemotherapeutic treatments.   In the retina our focus is on the development of neuroprotective agents for the treatment of degenerative conditions of the retina in particular retinitis pigmentosa and related diseases.

Funding (€2m+) to support for our laboratory research work comes from the following agencies; Science Foundation Ireland, Irish Cancer Society, Health Research Board of Ireland and The Children’s Leukaemia Research project.

Professor Cotter has supervised 35 PhD students plus 8 MD, 3 MSc. students and published over 200 papers in addition to editing several books and monographs.  His laboratory (9 scientists) is funded from a variety of sources.  His published work has been cited more than 11,000 times. Eight of his publications are ‘citation classics’ (300+ citations each). H Index 53.

Current Research Projects

Coming soon.....

People in the Cotter tumour biology research group

Past Members

Dr Daniel Alvira Aguilera

Dr Ana Arroba

Dr Lavinia Bhatt

Dr Ashleigh Byrne

Dr Mark Carmody

Dr Sebastian Clerkin

Ms Aoife Corcoran

Dr Maryanne Donovan (PhD student and Postdoctoral Scientist)

Dr Francesca Doonan (PhD student and Postdoctoral Scientist)

Dr Karen England

Dr Sorcha Finnegan

Violeta Gomez-Vicente

Dr Gillian Greoger     

Dr Fionnuala Hickey  

Dr Will Landry (PhD student and Postdoctoral Scientist)

Dr Ashley Mackey                

Dr Shane Madden     

Dr Declan McKernan            

Dr Ruth Naughton (PhD student and Postdoctoral Scientist)                             

Dr Carolyn O’Mahony (PhD student and Postdoctoral Scientist)                            

Jennifer Moloney

Dr Christopher Pettigrew

Dr Claire Quiney        

Ana Ruiz Lopez

Dr Sarah Roche

Eileen Russell

Dr Nuria Sanvicens

Dr Joanna Stanicka

Dr Sara Tedesco

Dr Debbie Wallace                             

Dr John Woolley

Alice Wyse-Jackson

Selected publications

Full list of publications

For publications 1978 to date, please visit my publications on PubMed.

Selected Publications

Professor Tom Cotter Selected Publications.


Links and professional activities


Professor Tom Cotter's UCC research profile


Professional activities

Founding Board member of Science Foundation Ireland, Irelands largest science funding agency.

Past Board member of the Government Commission for Assisted Reproduction & Chair of its stem cell committee

Former Board Member of Health Research Board of Ireland Board

Former Board Member of Cancer Research Ireland

Former President of Irish Association for Cancer Research

Former Chairman of the Board of Meridian Theatre Company

Co founder of Eirx Therapeutics Ltd and Luxcel Biosciences Ltd

Member of Scientific Advisory Board of Institute de la Vision Paris

Former SAB member of the Tyndall National Institute Ireland

Former member of expert panel providing advice to the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor

Editorial Board member of several journals.

Former Editor in Chief of Essays in Biochemistry

Extensive international experience of grants reviews

School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology

Scoil na Bithcheimice agus na Cillbhitheolaíochta

University College Cork, Western Road, Cork.